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’Cats soar over Hawks with late field goal

WSU football players celebrating the win. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost).

The scorching hot Weber State Wildcats took on the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks under the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains. WSU got their seventh straight win to improve to 8-2 in a tense battle that came down to the wire.

The Wildcat offense took a heavy blow early when sophomore running back Josh Davis suffered what appeared to be a concussion and was evaluated in a tent along the WSU sideline.

Despite the setback, Weber State would still strike first on a touchdown pass to Junior Receiver David Ames. The extra point makes the score 7-0 Weber.

WSU’s next score would be on a play worthy of a SportsCenter Top-10 highlight. The ‘Cats ran a double reverse flea flicker, which was caught over double coverage for a touchdown by sophomore tight end Justin Malone.

North Dakota’s offense would finally show signs of life late in the first quarter after scoring a touchdown on a pass up the middle. The extra point would make it 14-7 Wildcats still ahead. The Wildcats would later add a field goal to make it 17-7.

Preston Smith with a tackle. (Nikki Dorber / The Signpost).

WSU attempted an onside kick in the second quarter, but it didn’t travel the required ten yards, giving the Fighting Hawks a short field to work with. UND would capitalize on the field position as they scored on a pass to the front corner of the endzone, bringing the score to 17-14 after the extra point.

Weber State’s injury woes would continue as RB Kris Jackson suffered a shoulder injury. Junior running back Kevin Smith Jr. would take over halfback duties for the rest of the half. Jackson would return in the second half.

The Wildcats managed to put three more points on the board to give themselves a six point cushion, and the scoreboard read 20-14.

With a minute left before the half, the offense advanced the ball far enough to attempt a 50-yard field goal but WSU failed to put points on the board.

North Dakota came out of halftime firing on all cylinders and scored a touchdown in two minutes to take the lead from the ‘Cats 24-20

Things got a little sloppy as the ‘Cats began to turn the ball over and momentum teetered towards the Fighting Hawks. UND converted the second turnover into points and pushed their lead to 27-20.

Constantine didn’t let mistakes bother him. On Weber’s next drive, he provided two important scrambles, including one where he spun off a would-be tackler and ran into the endzone. This tied the game 27-all with 2:49 to go.

“I was running pretty mad there and I had to make it up to my guys,” Constantine said about the play.

UND would fumble the ensuing kickoff which would be recovered by the ‘Cats, Weber would get the ball right back in a great position to score.

With no way to stop the clock, UND’s only hope was that the Wildcats would leave them enough time to do anything on the offensive end.

The clock read 37 seconds and Head Coach Jay Hill placed his faith in their all-American Trey Tuttle.

The common phrase is that pressure bursts pipes, but pressure makes diamonds too, and Tuttle shone like one as he drilled the kick straight through the uprights. Weber goes up 30-27 with 31 seconds remaining and UND had no timeouts.

The final play of the game was a UND Hail Mary attempt that filled fans with anxiety but in the end, it was a Wildcat win.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us…last time we were there we won, and I’ll know they’ll be hungry for us to come up,” Coach Hill said about WSU’s upcoming matchup.

Next week, Weber State will be heading up to Missoula to take on the University of Montana in an important matchup that will likely decide the fate of the Big Sky Champion. It’s rivalry week.

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